Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Education Work Relationship; Educational Attainment; Educational Economics; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Human Capital; Labor Market; Mathematical Models; Measurement; Salary Wage Differentials; Overeducation; Return on Investment.

Orr, L. L. (2001). What are they doing? Performance Improvement, 40(5), 28-31.


Explains how to develop job profiles that describe the output expected from employees and the competencies required to meet the output so that managers understand and appreciate what their employees actually do. Discusses needs assessments and how clear descriptions of competencies, skills, knowledge, and values are useful in developing training.
KEY WORDS: Administrator Attitudes; Administrators; Competence; Job Analysis; Job Skills; Needs Assessment; Skill Analysis; Task Analysis; Training Methods; Values.

Parant, A. (2006). Employment in France: The turning-point? Salvation through demographic change? Futuribles, 325, 5-25.


The high unemployment rate in France is a constant source of anxiety even among people with highest educational attainment. This article analyses changes in the French population in the past, present and future and their possible consequences for employment. The study shows that France has one of the highest rates of underemployment of older workers in Europe.
KEY WORDS: France; Unemployment Rates; Aging; Demographic Change; Unemployment; Labor Market; Workers; Retirement.

Parent, D. (2002). Matching, human capital, and the covariance structure of earnings. Labour Economics, 9(3), 375-404.


This paper tests the theory of job matching and the theory of human capital by examining the covariance structure of residuals from a typical Mincer log earnings equation using methods of moments techniques. Job matching theory predicts that we should observe an eventual decrease in the contribution of the job-match component in the residual variance as workers acquire tenure on the job. This prediction is mildly supported by the data. On the other hand, human capital theory predicts a trade-off between job-specific intercept and slope parameters. This prediction, which is not shared by the theory of matching, is strongly supported by the data. This is especially true for men with at least a high school degree. .
KEY WORDS: Matching; Firm-Specific Human Capital; Generalized Method Of Moments; Job Seniority; Wages Rise; Young Men; Mobility; Turnover; Workers; Information; Tenure.

Parvinder, K. (2005). Graduate overeducation in Australia: A comparison of the mean and objective methods. Education Economics, 13(1), 47-72.


This paper studies the extent of graduate overeducation in Australia utilising both the objective and mean methods. As well, the paper tests for non-linear returns to overeducation. It is found that the rates of graduate overeducation vary by both gender and with the methods utilised, and stand between 21% and 46%. Non-linear returns to overeducation were evident among some groups of graduates. Young male graduates seem to suffer no penalty for overeducation compared with their matched peers, but this may be a reflection of technological change altering workplace requirements faster than changes in occupational titles.
KEY WORDS: Graduate Overeducation; Labour Market Mismatch.

Pastor, M., Jr., & Marcelli, E. A. (2000). Social, spatial, and skill mismatch among immigrants and native-born workers in Los Angeles. San Diego: University Center for Comparaitive Immigration Studies.


Racially different economic outcomes stem from multiple causes, including various "mismatches" between minority employees and available jobs. A skill mismatch occurs when individuals' education and job skills do not qualify them for existing jobs. A spatial mismatch means that people live far from the work for which they qualify. A social mismatch refers to the practice of finding jobs through social networks; when friends and family are not well-connected to good jobs, one's chances of finding a good job decrease. This paper explores how these mismatches determine labor market outcomes, particularly wage impacts, in Los Angeles County for different racial groups and for immigrant versus native-born workers. Data on male workers were drawn from the Los Angeles Survey of Urban Inequality, census responses for Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs), and a unique dataset on job location and composition in southern California. The results indicate that all three types of mismatch matter, but they affect various groups differently. Social network quality mattered most for Anglos. For African Americans, the skill gap was more important than social networks or job growth in the local neighborhood. For recent Latino immigrants, individual characteristics mattered more than spatial or skill mismatches. Individual variables (including English fluency) also played a large role for longer-term immigrant and U.S.-born Latinos, but the skill gap also mattered. Asian Americans were affected by spatial and skill mismatches.
KEY WORDS: Asian Americans; Blacks; Educational Needs; Educational Status; Comparison; Employment Potential; Hispanic Americans; Immigrants; Income; Job Skills; Labor Market; Males; Neighborhoods; Poverty; Racial Differences; Social Networks; Whites; Latinos.

Pelsma, D., & Arnett, R. (2002). Helping clients cope with change in the 21st century: A balancing act. Journal of Career Development, 28(3), 169-179.


The current environment requires personal agency. Successful individuals need four abilities: (1) willingness to cope with uncertainty; (2) ability to overcome obstacles; (3) ability to take risks and learn from experience; and (4) ability to make decisions.
KEY WORDS: Career Counseling; Career Development; Change Strategies; Coping; Job Skills; Self Determination.

Reitz, J. G. (2001). Immigrant skill utilization in the Canadian labour market: Implications of human capital research. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 2(3), 347-378.


The quantitative significance of the underutilization of immigrant skills may be assessed, albeit imprecisely, in human capital earnings analysis. Earnings deficits of immigrants may arise from (1) lower immigrant skill quality, (2) underutilization of immigrant skills, & (3) pay inequities for immigrants doing the same work as native born Canadians. Consistent with numerous studies, 1996 census microdata show that underutilization of immigrant skills is significant, though less so than unequal pay within occupations. In 1996 dollars, the total annual immigrant earnings deficit from all three sources was $15 billion, of which $2.4 billion was related to skill underutilization, & $12.6 billion was related to pay inequity. Discussion considers adjustments to these estimates, taking account of difficulties measuring the skill levels of occupations & immigrant skill quality.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants; Canada; Work Skills; Income Inequality; Underemployment; Human Capital; Employment Discrimination; Labor Market.

Reynolds, J., & Aletraris, L. (2006). Pursuing preferences: The creation and resolution of work hour mismatches. American Sociological Review, 71(4), 618-638.


Based on data from two waves of panel data from Australia, this study shows that mismatches between the number of hours people actually work and the hours they prefer to work are common. The results also indicate market imperfections and many mismatches (especially the desire for fewer hours) persist for more than a year. Although a change of employers can resolve mismatches, it can also create them. Study concludes that processes that create and resolve mismatches are more closely related to changes in preferred hours than to changes in actual hours.
KEY WORDS: Labor Supply Preferences; Hours Constraints; United States; Job Mobility; Gender; Family; Time; Underemployment; Flexibility; Parenthood.

Richards, P. (2001). Towards the goal of full employment: Trends, obstacles and policies. Geneva: ILO.


Expanding upon a report presented to the International Labor Organization (ILO), this book documents the current world employment situation, including how it has fallen short, how current economic policies interact with world employment, and how improvements can be made. Chapter one, "The Commitment to Full Employment," describes how the ILO measures and defines employment and unemployment and discusses the concept of creating a universal employment strategy in developing, industrialized and transition countries. Chapter two, "The Current Employment Picture" looks at broad trends in employment globally and regionally and the characteristics of employment quality, including freedom of association and equal opportunity. Chapter three, "The Employment Effects of Current Policies," discusses the recent experiences of developing countries in East and Southeast Asia and Latin America, as well as the older Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members. Chapter four presents conclusions, including discussions of poverty, income distribution and economic growth, full employment policies, and how the ILO helps promote full employment in a global context and at the national level. Extensive bibliographic notes follow each chapter. The document contains data tables and an index.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Careers; Developed Nations; Developing Nations; Economic Development; Employment; Employment Opportunities; Employment Patterns; Equal Opportunities (Jobs); Foreign Countries; Labor Economics; Labor Force Development; Labor Market; Labor Standards; Postsecondary Education; Poverty; Quality of Working Life; Skill Development; Underemployment; Unemployment.

Rogers, J. K. (2001). There's no substitute: The politics of time transfer in the teaching profession. Work and Occupations, 28(1), 64-90.


Recent scholarly attention has turned to the imbalance of work time in the US. Although some workers experience overwork, others remain underemployed, often in contingent employment. School districts across the US are experiencing shortages of substitute teachers, while regular teachers experience long workdays & significant work-family conflict. Without the ability to recruit more substitutes, many districts propose solutions to classroom coverage problems that involve a time to transfer from a group of substitute teachers' work hours. Although substitutes who were interviewed expressed a desire for more teaching hours, they were constrained by their need to make a living either through multiple jobs or finding a higher wage job. This case study demonstrates the process through which a time transfer is proposed, contested by teachers, & ultimately without challenging the disparities between these groups of teachers.
KEY WORDS: Teachers; United States of America; Time Utilization; Working Hours.

Sawchuk, P. H. (2003). Adult learning and technology in working-class life. Cambridge, UK / New York: Cambridge University Press.


To date little is known about the everyday activities that make up the majority of people's learning lives. This book presents a critical approach to learning using situated learning and activity theory, drawing on the writings of Marx, Gramsci, Marxist-feminists, as well as the sociology of Bourdieu. Though many have demonstrated that schooling and adult training are deeply affected by issues of social class, this book explodes the myth that everyday learning, despite its apparent openness and freedom, can be understood as class-neutral. Based on life-history interviews, selected ethnographic observations in homes and factories, large-scale survey materials as well as microanalysis of human computer interaction, the analysis explores learning across the various spheres of 'working-class life'. The author draws on his own experience as a factory worker, labour educator and academic to offer the most detailed examination of computer literacy and lifelong learning practice amongst working-class people currently available.

• Offers detailed, extended excerpts from 'learning life-history' interviews with manufacturing workers

• Combines micro and macro perspectives on learning, technology and social class

• Clear and accessible introduction to political economy, class analysis, and cultural-historical psychologies


KEY WORDS: Adult Learning; Informal Learning; Business and Industrial Personnel; Human Computer Interaction; Social Class; Technology.

Scherer, S. (2004). Stepping-stones or traps? The consequences of labour market entry positions on future careers in West Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Work, Employment and Society, 18(2), 369-394.


This article addresses the question of whether the first job functions as a ‘stepping stone’ or as a ‘trap’. It does so by using individual longitudinal data to estimate the consequences on future occupational attainment of entry into the labour market via (a) ‘under-qualified’ jobs or (b) via temporary contracts. A cross-national comparison of West Germany, Great Britain and Italy allows assessment of the impact of different labour market structures on this allocation process. With regard to ‘under-qualified’ positions, the findings are not consistent with the stepping-stone hypothesis but provide some support for the entrapment hypothesis. Despite the greater mobility chances of over-qualified workers, the initial disadvantage associated with status-inadequate jobs is not fully overcome during their future careers. The article shows, however, that the negative effects are not due to the mismatch as such but rather to the relatively lower level positions. These effects are mediated by the national labour market structure, with the British flexible model providing the best chances of making up for initial disadvantages, and the more tightly regulated and segmented markets in Germany and Italy leading to stronger entrapment in lower status positions. No negative effects of the type of contract are found for later occupational positions in any of the countries.
KEY WORDS: Great Britain; Italy; Federal Republic of Germany; Occupational Mobility; Occupational Achievement; Labor Force Participation; Occupational Qualifications; Underemployment.

Schomburg, H., & Teichler, U. (2006). Higher education and graduate employment in Europe: Results of graduates surveys from 12 countries. Dordrecht: Springer.


A unique major international comparative study was undertaken providing detailed information on the employment and work situation of graduates from higher education institutions in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Japan. 40,000 graduates from 12 countries reported about their study experiences, the transition from Higher Education to employment and their early career up to four years after graduation. The findings suggest variety among economically advanced countries in the competences fostered by Higher Education and the emphasis placed either on laying a broad basis of knowledge or direct preparation for professional tasks. While universities in some countries are strongly involved in ensuring a rapid transition from study to employment, in other countries a long period after graduation searching for a suitable career is widespread. Graduates from some countries appreciate their study experiences though they criticize a weak preparation for their subsequent assignments, while others less satisfied with higher education in their retrospective view note a satisfying preparation for the world of work. Study often turns out useful to lead to challenging tasks even though remuneration and status remain below expectations.
KEY WORDS: Higher Education; Graduate Employment; Europe; Comparative Study; Surveys.

Scott-Dixon, K. (2004). Doing IT: Women working in information technology. Toronto: Sumach Press.


From the 1990s to the early 2000, women have been carving out careers in Information Technology. For these IT workers, it is not just about earning a living but about applying their technological, scientific and engineering skills and knowledge. Women continue to face barriers preventing them from reaching their full professional potential. This book examines the IT workplace that keeps gender, race, class and income inequities firmly in place. Drawing on personal interviews the author shows that despite these barriers, women in IT bring passion to their jobs and draw on their wit, intelligence and creative resourcefulness to shape their career paths.
KEY WORDS: Information Systems; Information Technology; Occupations; Working Women; Human; Women.

Sigworth, D., Hawkins, C., & Daiek, D. (2003). 21st century skills: Are we teaching what students need to know? Community College Enterprise, 9(1), 39-47.


Discusses the institutional inventory completed at Schoolcraft College (Michigan), which focused on how to learn or teach necessary skills, the skills that are important for success, and the best way to assess skills necessary for competency. Reports that most stakeholders agreed on the skills that are important for success, but they held various opinions about how best to assess, learn, and teach them.
KEY WORDS: Administrator Attitudes; Community Colleges; Educational Assessment; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Force Development; Skill Analysis; Two Year Colleges.

Sirgy, M. J., Efraty, D., Siegel, P., & Lee, D.-J. (2001). A new measure of quality of work life (QWL) based on need satisfaction and spillover theories. Social Indicators Research, 55(3), 241-302.


A new measure of quality of work life (QWL) was developed based on need satisfaction & spillover theories. The measure was designed to capture the extent to which the work environment, job requirements, supervisory behavior, & ancillary programs in an organization are perceived to meet the needs of an employee. We identified seven major needs, each having several dimensions. These are: (a) health & safety needs (protection from ill health & injury at work & outside of work, & enhancement of good health); (b) economic & family needs (pay, job security, & other family needs); (c) social needs (collegiality at work & leisure time off work); (d) esteem needs (recognition & appreciation of work within the organization & outside the organization); (e) actualization needs (realization of one's potential within the organization & as a professional); (f) knowledge needs (learning to enhance job & professional skills); & (g) aesthetic needs (creativity at work as well as personal creativity & general aesthetics). The measure's convergent & discriminant validities were tested & the data provided support to the construct validity of the QWL measure. Furthermore, the measure's nomological (predictive) validity was tested through hypotheses deduced from spillover theory. Three studies were conducted: two using university employees & the third using accounting firms. The results from the pooled sample provided support for the hypotheses &, thus, lent some support to the nomological validity to the new measure.
KEY WORDS: Quality of Working Life; Job Satisfaction; Work Environment; Measures (Instruments); Needs; Job Characteristics; Superior Subordinate Relationship; Management Styles.

Skinner, C. (2001). Measuring skills mismatch: New York City in the 1980s. Urban Affairs Review, 36(5), 678-695.


The author develops a new methodology to measure occupational skill requirements in New York City. The analysis matches locally derived skill ratings for detailed census occupations to years of local schooling & then estimates the change in mean skill requirements for employed New York City residents & the change in local employment of occupational skills classed by level of required education during the 1980s. The results show insignificant change in employment weighted skill means for all occupations. But the disaggregated analysis shows skill requirements bifurcated during the decade, with employment growth concentrated in college-level & sub-high school graduate-level occupations relative to high school graduate-level occupations. The findings suggest that demand-side forces are destroying mid-skilled jobs, casting doubt on the efficacy of supply-side policy measures intended to improve labor market outcomes for workers with less than a college education.
KEY WORDS: Research Methodology; Occupational Qualifications; Work Skills; New York City, New York; Education Work Relationship.

Smith, A. (2002). Evidence of skill shortages in the engineering trades. Leabrook, SA: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.


Statistical information about employment in 13 engineering trades occupations in Australia was examined to identify skill shortages in the country's engineering trades. Data from various Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business (DEWRSB) reports regarding the supply of and demand for skills in the engineering trades including a 1999 DEWRSB survey of Australian employers' recent experience of skill shortages in the engineering trades were analyzed. Overall, the combination of commencements in new apprenticeship training, the availability of nonapprenticeship training pathways to the engineering trades, declining employment growth in recent years, and projected low growth in the future has been sufficient to keep pace with employment trends in the trades. However, despite continuing declines in total employment in the engineering trades, skill shortages are likely to persist especially for the more specialized metals trades. The study suggested that the issues of relevance and quality of training for existing workers and new entrants to the engineering trades will be even more critical than increasing the numbers of individuals in training. The biggest challenge to meeting Australia's rapidly changing engineering skill needs appears to be ensuring that the content and coverage of training keeps pace with the rapid rate of technological change in engineering.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Competence; Education Work Relationship; Educational Needs; Employer Attitudes; Employment Level; Employment Patterns; Employment Projections; Employment Qualifications; Engineering Technicians; Entry Workers; Foreign Countries; Job Skills; Labor Needs; Labor Supply; Metal Working; Needs Assessment; Postsecondary Education; Relevance (Education); Secondary Education; Technological Advancement; Technology Transfer; Trade and Industrial Education.

Spill, R. (2002). An introduction to the use of skill standards and certifications in WIA programs, 2002. Washington, DC: National Skill Standards Board.


This report focuses on the use of nationally recognized, industry-based skill standards and occupational certifications that promote certificate portability, skill transferability, worker mobility, and education and training consistency within and across states and nationwide. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 define what is meant by skill standards and certifications, present the case for their use, and discuss their benefits for individuals, employers, educators and trainers, Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and others. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 outline the mission of the National Skill Standards Board and its role in developing and promoting an industry-based skill standards and certifications system and then examine some key representative applications in education and training delivery systems and in WIB contexts. Chapters 7, 8, and 9 provide WIBs with a practical 22-step process approach for identifying and selecting industry-based occupational certifications that match local-, regional-, and state-determined workforce needs; explain the purpose and advantages of the locally designed Work Readiness Certification; and provide a brief resource guide to WIBs for further follow-up assistance.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Educational Certificates; Industry; Job Skills; Job Training; Labor Force Development; Labor Needs; National Standards; Occupational Mobility; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; Student Certification; Vocational Education

Staff, J., & Uggen, C. (2003). The fruits of good work: Early work experiences and adolescent deviance. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 40(3), 263-290.


Some theories of crime suggest that “adult-like” work conditions will diminish adolescent delinquency, whereas others suggest that a precocious entry into adult work roles will increase youth problem behaviors. We consider the relationship between delinquency and several dimensions of adolescent employment, including learning opportunities, freedom and autonomy, status, demands and stress, wages, and the compatibility between work and school. More specifically, we ask: (1) Do these early work conditions affect adolescent deviance net of the number of hours worked and self-selection processes? (2) If so, are “adult-like” work environments harmful or beneficial for adolescents? And, (3) which employment dimensions are the most important for theory and research on crime and delinquency? We find the lowest rates of 12th grade school deviance, alcohol use, and arrest among adolescents whose jobs supported rather than displaced academic roles and provided opportunities for them to learn new things. In contrast, many qualities of work considered desirable for adults (autonomy, social status, and wages) appear to increase delinquency in adolescence. We conclude that work conditions have age-graded effects on delinquency that are contingent on the life course stage of the worker.

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